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November 21, 2007

David Chu

Tim Finchem

Kyi Kla Han

George O'Grady

Stephen Urquhart


GORDON SIMPSON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for your attendance this afternoon. It's a real pleasure and a privilege to be here at Mission Hills for the inaugural OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup.
First and foremost, I'd like to introduce the gentlemen on our top table, and if I may I will start at the far end. Alvin at the far end will be our Chinese interpreter for the day. But the official top table, we have George O'Grady who is Chief Executive of The European Tour. Next to George we have Stephen Urquhart, the president of OMEGA. Next to Stephen, we have a very familiar face, Dr. David Chu, who is Chairman of this wonderful facility. Next to David is Tim Finchem, the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, and on my immediate right, Kyi Hla Han, the Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour.
And I think it's very appropriate since we're here at Mission Hills that the person to open up proceedings today should be our host, Dr. Chu.
DR. DAVID CHU: It's been 12 years since 1995 that the World Cup was first held in Mission Hills, and now the next 12 years, the World Cup will be played at Mission Hills. At the table here we have all of the head Commissioners from the U.S. Tour, The European Tour, and the Asian Tour and also, the leaders from sponsors around the world. I'm very excited, especially this week, having all of the support of the top players from around the world playing in this event, and hopefully everybody here will be enjoying this coming week. Thank you.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much. And on behalf of the title sponsors, OMEGA, Stephen, if you'd like to make a few introductory remarks.
STEPHEN URQUHART: Thank you, David. We met earlier this year in Wentworth to finalize this very important partnership as David said, for 12 years. In a way, it's like a dream come true for a brand like OMEGA that's been involved in golf for so many years. And to be associated with a tournament that has a fantastic and unique history, and we shout it out to the whole world, which is not the case of most golf tournaments and most sports.
As you know, we are also heavily involved in the Olympics. Next year we will be in Beijing for the 23 games and I think the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup is something that is in the same vein as the Olympics. We are really excited to be able to put our know-how and our expertise and our dynamic and our enthusiasm together with our friends from Mission Hills and together with The European Tour and all of the Tours to make it into, as has often been used by many players, the Olympics of golf.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Stephen. And since we are here in Asia, I think it's very appropriate that we'll start with the man here on my right, Kyi Hla Han. Would you like to say something?
KYI HLA HAN: On behalf of the Asian Tour, I think it's a great occasion for me to be here to mark the first tournament of the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup here at Mission Hills. OMEGA has been a big supporter of professional golf in Asia, and also Mission Hills has been a big supporter of professional golf in Asia, so I think it's a great synergy of their partnership.
I can see this tournament becoming a very big event and I think it's an honour for all of the players to be representing their country, and for the next 12 years, it's great to have this event here in Asia. Thank you.
GORDON SIMPSON: And Commissioner Finchem, please.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Yes, thank you. On behalf of the United States tour, I'm delighted to be here and to welcome the players who are here and to make a few comments.
We are exceedingly excited about what has happened in bringing the World Cup to Mission Hills for the next 12 years. I think two things are obvious. One, we have a terrific place to play; a venue that is synonymous with great golf in the largest resort destination for golf in the world. Second, we have a great title sponsor in OMEGA that understands sports marketing and is a first-class player in sports around the world.
Two things that stand out to me about today are that, one, we begin a 12-year journey to determine how the World Cup can impact the game of golf in China. Some people have asked, as you've moved the World Cup over the years, why are you staying in China for 12 years. Well, I think in 60 years, we'll look back and say that it was a good investment of 12 years, given the burgeoning growth of golf in this country.
And secondly I think the World Cup as a tournament, which has such a rich history can now look forward to having the bigness that it deserves as a world-class event. Thank you, and I look forward to answering your questions.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, and before we open up to the Q&A session, George O'Grady of The European Tour.
GEORGE O'GRADY: Thank you, Gordon. It's a pleasure for The European Tour to be here today for two big reasons. One, we've always been hugely committed to the World Cup of Golf. In fact, I was lucky enough to come here in 1995 when the World Cup was last played in China. We probably have more players representing more countries often The European Tour here in the World Cup than any other, any other tour, and we have had for a long time.
And the second reason is we are grateful to have played a small part in the development to date of the game of golf here in China. It's well known how many co-sanctioned events we have here in China and how many of our players have been here over the last few years.
This is now a milestone, beginning the 12 years, where we will see real true growth in golf in this country. And it needs men of great vision, vision within the Chinese Golf Association and a vision led by Dr. David Chu who really has put the market down to what can be done in this country. We thank you, we thank OMEGA very much indeed, and we look forward to the week. Thank you.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

Q. Gentlemen, I'm just wondering if the discussions you've obviously been having here have had to do with scheduling at the end of 2009 and avoiding what happened with the Singapore and Valderrama clash. Perhaps I can address this to George, first.
GEORGE O'GRADY: I think one of the attractions of a week like this, there's so many different commissioners. We touch on many subjects; scheduling is always one of them and I think it is crucial.
But I think we've met quite a few times already this year. We last met as the World Federation of Tours at the Presidents Cup where we discussed it then, where we agreed on a drug policy for the world of golf, which was on the behalf of all the major tours; huge assistance from the PGA Tour, but also agreed by the four major championship bodies: Augusta National, USGA, the R&A and the PGA of America. So, yes we have discussed scheduling, all three of us this week.

Q. Tim, you talked of a 12-year journey to determine the impact of golf on China. What would be a successful journey?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, given what's happened just in the 12 years since we've been here for the World Cup at least, there is no limit to what could happen in the next 12. But certainly I think with David Chu, as George put it, perhaps the standard-maker for developing golf facilities; there's some 400 in China today. If you go back to take a country that's brought golf along in the last half-century, perhaps Japan as an example, and we are to extrapolate a similar result in 50 years and cut it by 70 per cent, it's a huge impact on the growth of the game globally just in this country.
If we were go get on that track in the growth of the game in China or anything close to it, it would mean that millions of people would be picking up the game, and as the economy here develops and the middle class grows, certainly that's something we will be looking to. As George said, it's not just about the World Cup, but I think having the World Cup here could play a significant impact in taking us down that road.

Q. Could I ask the same question of Dr. Chu.
DR. DAVID CHU: Golf is a world sport. It's played all over the world. With 1.3 billion people in China, if we can have an international event like the World Cup being held in China for the next 12 years, it would be like a snowball effect. More and more people will be participating, watching the event, taking part in this event and also enjoying the game, and I believe that this game will be getting more and more popular in China.

Q. Commissioner Finchem, do you have the power to form next year a better comprehensive team to represent the United States in such a big event? (laughter) thank you.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: No, I don't. (Laughter).

Q. By any means?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: The reality is that in the game of golf, the competitors are not members of a labour union; they are not under contract to play. They can go and play as they choose. In fact, in recent years, we've made it much easier for them to move around different tours.
Our job is to make the tournaments that we schedule attractive enough to attract players. And I think if we go back 50-some years now, the history of the World Cup, any top player that you can imagine, whether it was Hogan, Snead, Palmer, Nicklaus, Woods, have played and won the World Cup.
Not many of them have played 20 years in the World Cup, but they have played it and won it. It means a lot to players to play and win it, and that's a great base to build on. I think to make it attractive for the players to come on a consistent basis, we have to make the tournament as good as we can make it, and that's what we intend to do.

Q. Tim, I just wonder what you make of the Dubai World Championship that was announced this week, and what your feelings are about having the world's richest tournament now not being played on American soil.
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: Well, I don't find ourselves in competition with The European Tour, but if we were as a good sport, I would say, well done. I think it's terrific. I think it's terrific for progressional golf globally. I think it's great for The European Tour and the players who play on that tour consistently.
I think it sends a message that slowly but surely professional golf is making strides to keep up with or gain on team sports. World-class athletes in our sport should be paid and compensated at the same level in my view as team sports. I've said that for 12 years. And to see the work that George and The European Tour have done to bring this tournament on, I think is a tremendous development.
It also has the side effect, which I like, of really hopefully reducing the clamour that we've heard the last few years; that because the purses on the PGA Tour are so high, somehow the quality of professional golf around the globe is suffering, and we've never believed that. But if it's measured in the context of big tournaments and big bonus pools and things of that nature, certainly this helps eradicate that issue.
I couldn't be more pleased. Our congratulations to George and his team. They have worked hard on this, and it demonstrates their competence and capability, as well as what the marketplace is out there to support professional golf.

Q. Could I ask a quick follow-up; could you ever envision today where because of this Tiger Woods would be a member of The European Tour and would you welcome that?
COMMISSIONER TIM FINCHEM: I've learned after 11 years to let Tiger speak for himself. (Laughter).

Q. Dr. Chu, your thoughts on the impact of the OMEGA Mission Hills World Cup on golf in China?
DR. DAVID CHU: In the last 20 years, Mission Hills golf Club held the World Cup back in 1995 and now it's back in 2007. With the economy booming in the last few years in China, without all of the support of the government and all of the golfers in China, it would not be a possibility for Mission Hills to be able to host such a wonderful, top-quality golf event in Mission Hills and I'm very excited about this.

Q. Do you hope to have Tiger Woods to play here at Mission Hills in the OMEGA World Cup in the future?
DR. DAVID CHU: Back in 2001, the world No. 1 first came to China and played in an exhibition match at Mission Hills. The players from all of the teams, they are representing their country, not only playing as an individual sport; they are playing as a team sport in the World Cup.
So hopefully this event playing in 2007, I believe this World Cup format will be more and more attractive in the future, and hopefully that will attract maybe Tiger Woods to come back to China in the next few years.
GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, gentlemen.

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